Hazardous chemicals found in boxed macaroni and cheese

Hazardous chemicals found in boxed macaroni and cheese

A new study of 30 cheese products including popular and organic boxed mac and cheese has found that all but one of them contain phthalates.

Findings revealed • Phthalates in almost every cheese product tested (29 of 30 items tested), with 10 different phthalates identified and up to six found in a single product • Phthalates in eight of the nine Kraft cheese product items tested • Toxic chemical phthalates at levels on an average more than four times higher, on a fat basis, in macaroni and cheese powder than in hard cheese blocks and other natural cheese • DEHP, the most widely-banned phthalate around the world, in all 10 macaroni and cheese powders.

The coalition still says phthalates pose a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children, while the CDC says the health effects are unknown - though low levels of phthalates have altered some lab animals' reproductive systems.

I've been jokingly telling clients for years that phthalates and other chemicals are derived from petrochemicals that can not be used in powering our vehicles.

The chemicals, commonly referred to as plasticizers, are used in raincoats, personal care products, and other items to make them more flexible and harder to break. These include the Environmental Health Strategy Center, Ecology Center, Healthy Babies Bright Futures, and Safer States. Considering that approximately 2 million boxes of mac and cheese were sold in 2013 alone, the damage these chemicals may be causing is clearly widespread. Consumer advocacy groups are now urging people to contact manufacturers and demand steps be taken to stop chemicals from slipping into food products. High levels of exposure have been linked to fertility issues for both men and women, as well as behavioral and neurodevelopmental issues in children who are exposed to them in utero.

Phthalates are often added to plastic or food to increase flexibility but are not banned by the FDA. When doing so, the level of phthalate in a package of powdered cheese was about twice the level in the natural cheeses, and similar to sliced cheese. Nine of the cheese products tested were made by Kraft.

"We do not add phthalates to our products", Kraft spokesperson Lynne Galia said in an emailed statement. It says more research is needed to assess how phthalates impacts human health. Some products had up to 6 different kinds of phthalates present.

"Our belief is that it's in every mac "n" cheese product - you can't shop your way out of the problem", Belliveau said.

The Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging has requested that Kraft identify and eliminate any sources of phthalates in the production of its cheese products, and use its leadership position to change the industry.



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